Fall is probably my favorite time of the year. The cooler weather is a welcome relief to this deep south girl. I enjoy the crisp leaves crunching under my feet, the acrid smell of wood smoke in the air during bonfires, the snuggles on the couch with my little guys while gazing into the fireplace, the sights and sounds of the county fair. Trips to the mountains for sumptuously sweet apples in season and visits to the pumpkin farm bring me so much delight. I thought that I would share with you some of the ways our family has celebrated all that fall has to offer. Below you will find several ideas that you may enjoy trying with your family this fall.
Take a camping trip. Last year we made our first camping trip as a family and although we were newbies, we really enjoyed ourselves. It was such a great way to connect with nature and visit unhindered by electronic devices. We sat around the fire and talked, laughed and enjoyed campfire treats. We took walks in the forest and saw beautiful leaves and waterfalls. My husband wrote two comical pieces about our experiences if you care to read about it here and here. If you are willing to get a little bit dirty and “rough it” this can be a very economical way to have a vacation. If you need help finding a great park near you, here is a great place to start.
Look for local fairs and festivals. We usually find one local event to attend whether it is the local or state fair or a fall festival at a local church. These activities help us usher in the fall season. It has become a tradition for us. We have even figured out that if we can’t make it to the fair, we can at least stop by and order a corn dog for the road. Just having the traditional fair food is sometimes enough for me to get into the spirit of the season. I look forward to some of the special activities and treats all year-long. Check your local newspaper or ask family and friends for suggestions of events you can attend as a family. Social media is also a great source for information.
Visit local farms for pumpkins and apples. We are about a three-hour drive from the mountains where they grow delicious apples. We attempt to visit every year and purchase apples and pumpkins for eating and decorating. We make pictures at the pumpkin farms and let the kids enjoy the outdoors with a picnic. We visit a state park and look at the waterfall and just enjoy the respite from the hot weather of the south. It is a time for togetherness, special memories and family traditions. We visit a grist mill and purchase freshly ground grains. We can make this trip in a day or sometimes we go up the night before and get a hotel for a special treat. The kids look forward to this all year.(and so do I). We started this when the kids were babies and we try to do it every year. It has turned into a tradition.
Have a bonfire in your backyard. Invite a couple of families over and make smores, Serve hot cocoa or have a hayride. This can be as simple or elaborate as you like. It can be as simple as putting a couple of logs in the fire pit on your porch, or setting up a fire ring in your cow pasture. I have fond memories from my childhood of annual bonfires at a family friend’s house. We would all bring food and fellowship for a couple of hours. We would have a great hayride and enjoy the warmth of some hot chocolate afterward.
Make special treats that you only eat once a year. I like to make apple pies from our apples we get in the mountains and I usually make applesauce and try a few new apple recipes each year. We look forward to the special sweet treats. You can get lots of inspiration over on my Fall Pinterest board.
Find a corn maze and get lost together. We like to visit a local ranch and go through the corn maze each year. We love to see who is the best navigator (FYI it is never mom). I leave the intuitive direction decisions to dad. We love the adventure of making our way through the maze to the other side.
I hope some these ideas get your creative juices flowing and you will be inspired to get outside with your family and make some great fall memories. I would love to hear your ideas for fall family activities in the comments below.